Widowed man tried to steal $16

DAVID CLARKSON
Last updated 15:18 21/01/2014

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A great-granddad tried to pull a swifty at the supermarket to get $16 because he says his benefit does not leave him enough to live on.

The 63-year-old, Errol Raymond Turei, is listed as having no fixed abode.

He admitted a charge of attempting to obtain money by deception when he appeared before Judge Raoul Neave in the Christchurch District Court today.

Police prosecutor Sergeant Kathy Pomfrett said Turei went to a Christchurch supermarket on the afternoon of January 8, and looked through the parked trolleys until he found a discarded receipt.

He then went inside the supermarket and selected two bottles of wine which were listed on the receipt.

He took them to the service desk, where he used the receipt to claim the $16 refund because he "no longer required the wine".

Instead of getting the payout, he was arrested.

He told the police he was on a benefit and it was not enough to live on.

Turei told the court he was a great-granddad, who had been recently widowed.

He was deeply ashamed and deeply remorseful for his behaviour. Until a few months ago, he had no criminal convictions at all.

Judge Neave stood the case down so that a probation officer could interview Turei about things that appeared to be suddenly going wrong in his life.

The report recommended supervision with special conditions to give him assistance.

Judge Neave said Turei's recent offending had started because of the tragedies which had affected him in recent months.

He imposed the supervision and special conditions, "for assistance rather than punishment".

Turei told the court a WINZ official had also spoken to him during the day at court about looking for work.

"I appreciate what's been offered to me. I will gladly embrace it," he said.

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- © Fairfax NZ News

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